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Transplantation. 1995 Sep 15;60(5):457-61.

Serial quantitative determination of hepatitis C virus RNA levels after liver transplantation. A useful test for diagnosis of hepatitis C virus reinfection.

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  • 1Department of Bacteriology and Virology, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Université Paris XII, Créteil, France.


After liver transplantation for hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis, recurrent viral infection is almost constant, resulting in acute graft dysfunction in 30-75% of cases. Acute graft dysfunction in the post-transplant period may also be the result of various causes (such as rejection, CMV infection, sepsis, or technical problems). Therefore, the role of HCV reinfection is often difficult to document. The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic value of serial HCV RNA quantitation in this setting. Fourteen patients transplanted with follow-up greater than 6 months were studied. HCV RNA was quantitated before and serially after transplantation, using branched DNA technology. In cases of acute graft dysfunction, usual investigations and additional HCV RNA quantitation were conducted. There were 15 episodes of acute graft dysfunction in 12 patients. Six episodes had a hepatitic biochemical pattern, and 5 of them were associated with a concomitant HCV RNA peak. Nine episodes had a mixed, hepatitic, and cholestatic biochemical pattern, and 5 of them were associated with a concomitant peak of HCV RNA. Overall, 10 of 15 (66%) episodes of acute graft dysfunction were associated with HCV RNA peak, which strongly suggests that HCV was the etiologic factor. In 9 of these 10 episodes, no other cause of dysfunction was found, and one had associated CMV disease. In 5 cases, no peak of HCV RNA was observed and the causes of dysfunction were CMV (in 2 cases) and rejection, granulomatosis, and unknown (in 1 case each). Serial quantitations of HCV RNA levels after liver transplantation for cirrhosis C provide a useful tool in the diagnosis of HCV reinfection of the graft.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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